Refugees fleeing terror, war and torture? We’re full. People here need looking after first. Charity begins at home. We don’t want them. We can’t afford them.
Those are typical comments by some British people on what the country's response should be to the world's worst ever refugee crisis.
And the Conservative government, less than one year into office, seems to be taking those comments on board - and ignoring urgent pleas by other Britons, on marches just this weekend, calling for a more humane response.
There are now 60 million displaced people across the world – the worst refugee crisis ever. Half of all refugees are children. One in every 122 of the world’s population is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum
More than a million refugees and migrants crossed into Europe in 2015. The vast majority arrived by sea but some made their way over land, principally via Turkey and Albania.
According to United Nations figures, most of those arriving by sea - about 90% - are recognised as genuine refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The numbers of refugees being accepted by Britain is pitifully small compared to the millions of refugees. A United Nations officer said that, "Britain could do more".
According to Home Office figures, just 1,000 Syrian refugees were resettled in Britain under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation scheme in 2015.
Prime Minister David Cameron has said the UK will accept only 4,000 refugees a year from Syria over the next five years. In addition, Britain is contributing significant funds to refugee camps near to the areas of conflict.
However, the British government will not accept refugees who have escaped to Europe. David Cameron has opted out of a EU quota system for asylum seekers.
A government that’s callous enough to turn its back on hundreds of thousands of ravaged, terrorised people fleeing for their lives to seek refuge in Europe is the same heartless government that will turn its back on the growing numbers of Britons who have to use food banks.
The same government that will reduce support for many desperate people who are too ill or disabled to work.
The same government that cares not for those who are struggling to make ends meet and who are bearing the severest brunt of austerity measures whilst the rich are laughing all the way with the bankers.
It’s not them or us. It’s not either/or. It’s neither.
This is not a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ government, benevolent and caring towards our poor and downtrodden, but indifferent about helping those ‘not of us’.
If this was a compassionate, caring government, concerned and considerate towards our poor and struggling, it would show the same face to those refugees now perilously screaming for our help.
Many Britons mistakenly believe that letting in refugees represents a threat to them, their livelihood, their prospects, their chances.
But the threat isn’t the refugees.
The threat is a government that doesn’t care about our struggling and desperate as much as it doesn’t care for those struggling and desperate on our horizon, just beyond our borders, gasping and dying for rescue.
This shouldn’t be a competition between needy people.
A government that was naturally humanitarian would be doing all it can to help all it can - our poor, as well as genuine refugees.
But this is a Conservative government; the first true blue, fully fledged Tory government of this millennium – a government that almost 65% of voters didn’t vote for.
Welcome to Conservative Britain of 2016; giving this country a new image of being uncaring, unkind and self-serving.
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A government not caring for #refugees is the same one that doesn’t care for our #poor Blog: https://t.co/llifKHK9J0 pic.twitter.com/4IZ0bTS3N3— Jon Danzig (@Jon_Danzig) March 21, 2016